Over the last three months, the Republican National Committee (RNC) seems to have spent more than $900,000 buying up copies of the latest book from prominent conservative commentator and Fox News host Sean Hannity, according to Salon. These bulk purchases have helped push Hannity’s book to the top of bestseller lists, whether or not there’s the matching level of natural demand for the book among the general public.
The RNC has been sending copies of Hannity’s book to donors who give above a certain amount, which is similar to the set-up that the party employed around the time of Donald Trump Jr.’s first book, Triggered, which they also bought in bulk.The RNC is also offering signed copies of Trump Jr.’s latest book, called Liberal Privilege, but Salon reports that it’s “less clear” where exactly the party got the copies of that book that it’s offering.
In filings with the Federal Election Commission that cover September, the RNC reported spending a full $492,308 on “donor mementos” from booksellers, and much if not all of the money went towards Hannity’s book, according to Salon’s latest reporting. The entire amount was even spent on the same day, September 16. According to an anonymous retail representative speaking with Salon, the RNC spent an additional $26,100 on copies of Hannity’s book in October. That amount, which is markedly lower than the amount spent the previous month, might suggest that there’s not exactly an overwhelming demand for the book among GOP donors. Still, Salon reports the following: “Combined with August receipts, it is possible that the RNC has spent more than $900,000 on Hannity’s book over the last three months.”
These large book purchases mean that Sean Hannity — who hosts a widely viewed Fox News show and has a position of feigned credibility on the right — has essentially been getting paid by the Republican Party. Lawyer Brett Kappel, who specializes in campaign finance and government ethics issues while working at the law firm Harmon Curran, observed that the RNC “appears to be personally enriching Hannity while he dedicates airtime to promoting Trump.” Once, Hannity appeared on stage at a Trump rally, so the close relationship between the two of them has definitely been clear. Largely, the right isn’t running some kind of organic influence operation — it’s running a party-led propaganda machine.